VU celebrates 2023 Peer Recognition Award winners

2023 Peer Recognition Award Winners

November 08, 2023

VINCENNES, Ind. – Vincennes University faculty and staff play the prime role in helping the University achieve its mission, goals, and vision. Seven VU faculty and staff have been honored with Peer Recognition Awards for their extraordinary achievements, leadership, service, and dedication to the University.

The 2023 Peer Recognition Award recipients are (in alphabetical order):

  • Tony Cummins, Assistant Professor of Mathematics
  • Elizabeth "Liz" Curtis, English Department Secretary
  • JoEllen Horne, Communication and Performing Arts Secretary
  • Cindy McHenry, Center for Health Sciences Custodial Maintenance Associate
  • Randi Menke, Chelsea Lawless Computer Lab Assistant
  • Traci Stephens, Health Information Management Assistant Professor 
  • Janice Strange, Chelsea Lawless Computer Lab Assistant

VU President Dr. Chuck Johnson presented the 2023 recipients with their awards during a reception in the Shake Learning Resource Center on Wednesday, Nov. 8. Pictured above holding their awards are, first row (l-r), Janice Strange and Randi Menke; second row (l-r), Cindy McHenry, Tony Cummins and Liz Curtis. JoEllen Horne and Traci Stephens are not pictured.

Johnson said, “We congratulate the outstanding Vincennes University staff and faculty honored with well-deserved Peer Recognition awards. Their dedication, passion, and commitment to excellence continue to blaze bright, and we are truly grateful for their tireless efforts. The 2023 award recipients inspire us with their remarkable contributions and impact which make VU a tremendous place to learn and work. VU is proud and grateful for all of the staff and faculty who were nominated by their peers.”

Peers nominate VU faculty and staff based on exemplary service and performance annually. The President’s Advisory Committee selects the recipients.

ABOUT THE RECIPIENTS - These excerpts were taken from each award recipient’s nomination submission.

Tony Cummins, Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Anthony CumminsTony Cummins is someone who always steps up when the time is needed, whether that be covering classes for his fellow coworkers, or teaching multiple different preps every semester. He cares deeply about all his students and their success is a priority for him. Throughout the semester, he regularly holds study sessions from his home on Zoom outside of normal business hours. He wants each and every one of them to go on to forge very successful futures. Overall, Tony is the perfect example of someone who works hard for not only his department, but also for the College of Science, Engineering, and Mathematics, the University, and most importantly, his students.

Elizabeth "Liz" Curtis, English Department Secretary

Elizabeth CurtisAlthough Liz Curtis has only been with the VU English Department for a short period of time, for many reasons she has become a valuable member of the University. She makes an effort to find innovative ways to help students. Before the fall semester, she made color-coded printouts of the Humanities building to help direct students to their first classes. Besides her creativity and innovation with helping students, she also uses her forward thinking to be helpful and proactive. She regularly researches textbook options for cost effectiveness and quality. She was also an instrumental part in researching and securing the VR headsets for literature classes through the most recent Wathen Technology Grant. For all she does for so many, Liz deserves to be recognized for all she does.

JoEllen Horne, Communication and Performing Arts Secretary

JoEllen HorneIf you asked JoEllen Horne what the favorite part of her job is, without hesitation, she would answer, “helping students.” She makes it her mission to help students find student work positions in her College. But her interest in helping these students doesn’t stop the minute she finds them a position. It extends into encouraging them to complete their homework when their office duties slow down, monitoring their grade performance, and checking in to see how they are doing. Besides her love for helping students, she also cares deeply about her fellow colleagues. She is known to make time spent in the office interesting and fun, by relaying the latest weather report or giving highlights of last night’s news reports. For these reasons, and much more, JoEllen Horne, who recently retired, is worthy of peer recognition.

Cindy McHenry, Center for Health Sciences Custodial Maintenance Associate

Cindy McHenryCindy McHenry excels at keeping the Health Sciences building clean and the atmosphere cheery. She will handle each and every task assigned to her with a willing spirit and is always happy to lend a helping hand. There were also many times that she came to the rescue of faculty by letting them into their classrooms and offices on days they failed to bring their keys. She is also readily available to staff and students who have had the misfortune of getting their tasty snack caught in the vending machine. If you ask the faculty and staff in Cindy’s building, all of them would agree that she keeps the ship afloat and is more than deserving of peer recognition.

Randi Menke and Janice Strange, Chelsea Lawless Computer Lab Assistants

Randi MenkeRandi Menke and Janice Strange are two very special people in the College of Social Science, Performing Arts, and Communication who deserve recognition for the continued and dedicated service they have provided to Vincennes University. These two ladies work in the Chelsea Lawless computer lab in the Phillip Summers Building. They work hard to support the lab so that students from all over campus may have a place to study, complete work, and take exams. Their hard work even extends outside the realm of their regular job duties. They assist in setup and clean up of all events put on by the College of Social Science, work the registration booths and act as information guides. They even decorate the display cases, adorning the hallways with holiday cheer.

Janice StrangeTo further illustrate their dedication, Randi and Janice recently helped the Music Program during the renovation of the Humanities Building. They labeled and packaged equipment, instruments, music, books, materials, and furniture for the temporary move to several buildings on campus during the renovation and they did the same thing for the move back into the Humanities Building. For all these things, they are valuable assets to Vincennes University and truly deserving of recognition.

Traci Stephens, Health Information Management Assistant Professor

Traci StephensWith Traci Stephens you will find an employee who goes above and beyond in recruitment activities, not only for the Health Information Program but for all Health Sciences programs. She is extremely insightful, resourceful, and incredibly savvy with her ideas. Her ideas have helped to tremendously improve recruitment efforts in Health Sciences. During the fall semester, Traci helped facilitate approximately 400 students coming to our campus. Besides her efforts in recruitment, she is also an extremely well-liked and respected teacher, by both her students and her fellow peers. Traci has been an invaluable member of the VU family and is extremely deserving of recognition.

See a photo gallery of the 2023 Peer Recognition Award Ceremony:

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